'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 21 June 2012

Review: The Perfect Flower Girl

Amani and her little sister Mariam and so excited. They are going to be flower girls at their Aunty Sarah's wedding and they're beside themselves over the honour. There will be special dresses, make-up, rose petals and food food food.

But this is no ordinary wedding. It's a Lebanese Muslim wedding - and its celebration can last for days.

First it's the dinner with Aunty Sarah's fiance and her family. Then it's the dress shop for fittings, followed by the laylia - or special party for the bride-to-be and all her female cousins and friends. No boys allowed!

After a week of flower girl walking practise, Friday arrives - the day for katb il kitab - the marriage ceremony. The house is filled with the aromas of great food, the tables are decorated with fresh flowers, the sheikh and the visitors arrive and Aunty Sarah and Ahmad are asked three times if they will marry each other tomorrow.

Yes, yes, yes.

And so unfurls this fascinating peek into Lebanese Muslim wedding traditions that is as entertaining as is it educating - all shown through the impressionable eyes of two young girls who just want to be the perfect flower girls. And of course, they are.

Author Chandab has written a delightful story, resplendent with a deep passion for sharing her culture. Illustrator Talib's experience in textile and surface-pattern designing is beautifully showcased in a series of truly stunning illustrations that are both modern and whimsical. Her use of pattern and colour is a joy to meander through.

I do feel the text in this book is a tad overlong and could have easily been cut without compromising the beautiful detail of the story. I also feel the ending could have been a little more dynamic in nature - perhaps ending with one of the many unfamiliar (and enviable) traditions this culture enjoys.

Nonetheless, this is a beautiful and important book that clearly outlines the value of a multicultural Australia.

Title: The Perfect Flower Girl
Author: Taghred Chandab
Illustrator: Binny Talib
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: June 2012
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN: 9781742375731
For ages: 5 - 10
Type: Picture Book